Ultimately commissioner Elmer Layden, better known as one of Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen, convinced Uncle Sam it wouldn’t bring about the apocalypse.
Football games, he argued, were necessary, even preseason games.
An NFL preseason football game is not a traditional football product.
The sudden death rule came about in a handshake agreement between Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants before a preseason game in 1955.
That wouldn’t be so bad if preseason games didn’t catch the nation at a time when it is most desperate to satisfy its football jones. The NHL keeps it short, just two weeks, and this year will play 13 exhibition games in non-NHL venues.
Other pro sports know how to stage a compelling exhibition. Why can’t the most popular sport in America—which has turned paint-drying affairs such as the combine and the draft into must-see events—get its preseason right?
Last year’s college-inspired revisions to the overtime format were field-tested first in the summer.
This year’s preseason brings an opportunity to see how changes to the tuck rule and crackback blocking will be officiated. While it can be a laboratory for innovation, the preseason fails to deliver football’s essential ingredients: competition and intensity.
The 2006 Colts slogged through a winless August before going 12-4 and winning Super Bowl XLI.